Warning over rise in fake TSB text messages and phishing emails

Friday, 25th May 2018, 10:22 am
Updated Friday, 25th May 2018, 10:45 am

People are being warned of a spate of fake text messages and phishing emails claiming to come from the TSB.

Action Fraud - the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime - reports that there have been 321 phishing reports made to them '“ an increase on the previous month where just 30 reports were received.

The increase is believed to be in part linked to the problems some TSB customers experienced over recent weeks.Opportunistic fraudsters are using the bank's system issue to target people with text messages as a way to defraud unsuspecting victims out of money. This is called smishing (SMS + fishing).Of the smishing attempts reported to Action Fraud, 80 per cent requested that the recipient click onto a website link. The second most common delivery technique reported has been email.TSB, or any bank, will never ask for a PIN, password or full memorable information by email or text.The fraudsters are using software which changes the sender ID on text messages so that it looks like messages are being sent by TSB. In some instances, this spoofed text is being added to existing TSB message threads on victim's phones.Should someone click on the link within a spoofed text message and enter their personal information, the fraudsters then call the victim back and persuade them to hand over their one off code from their mobile phone. The fraudsters can then empty the victim's account.

'Opportunistic'

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Action Fraud's Pauline Smith, said: 'We have seen an increase in opportunistic fraudsters sending text messages claiming to be from TSB that ask people to reply with their personal or banking details.'This can have a devastating effect on people, who can lose out on large sums of money.'Don't assume anyone who's sent you a text message is who they say they are. If a text message asks you to make a payment, log in to an online account or offers you a deal, be cautious and report it to Action Fraud.'A TSB Fraud spokesperson added: 'While our systems are safe and secure, unfortunately fraudsters are increasingly sophisticated and looking to take advantage of situations like these by approaching customers.Protecting our customers' information is our number one priority. We are doing all we can to ensure customers don't become a victim of fraud, whether they bank with us in branch, online or via the telephone and this is something we are working on with Action Fraud and a number of external organisations. We are also working with these organisations to help them identify fraudulent sites so we can take them down as quickly as possible.'

Action Fraud has offered the following advice on protecting yourself from online fraud:

Don't assume an email or text is authentic:

Always question uninvited approaches in case it's a scam. Phone numbers and email addresses can be spoofed, so always contact the company directly via a known email or phone number (such as the one on the back of your bank card).Clicking on links/files:Don't be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected text or email. Remember, a genuine bank will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your full PIN or password.Report it:If you think you have received a phishing email or text, report it to Action Fraud.If you have received a suspicious TSB email, please do not respond to it, report it to Action Fraud and also forward it to emailscams@tsb.co.uk.